Friday, June 28, 2013

Someday, I Will Die Under a Pile of Books and Cats

I am an unashamed book hoarder and crazy cat lady. First, the obligatory picture of my cats:


I would like to have more cats, but the current household policy is no more cats than bedrooms, and I'm pressing my luck by claiming the couch as a third bedroom. Thankfully though, this policy does not hold for books. I have a lot of them, and I can't seem to stop accumulating more. Sometimes, I think they reproduce on their own. I'm pretty sure that my Narnia books had a baby with my anthology of Greek tragedies while I was at work one day and popped out The Magicians by Lev Grossman.

This is the face I made while reading The Magicians. It's one of my favorite books of all time.

One would think that since I work for a library, I wouldn't have this book hoarding problem. I mean, I have nearly the entire scope of literature at my fingertips - all I have to do is click a mouse a few times to make books magically appear. But, no. The big problem with the library system is that I eventually have to give the books back. I remember being a kid and checking books out all the time and dreading the day when they were due back at the library. Certain characters were like family to me. I wanted to be able to visit them any time I wanted and not worry that they'd be hanging out with someone else. I vowed to myself that when I had my own money, I would buy books and never ever give them back.

Me after returning books.
And so, the long, dark spiral of book hoarding began. When the internet became a thing, I searched long and hard for all the books I loved so much when I was younger and bought the hell out of them. I haven't read Clare Bell's Ratha books in decades, but I own them now and feel like I've reclaimed a little piece of my life.

Perhaps the worst part of this need for books, is my obsession with books I have not yet read. When I was a kid, I was terrified that I would run out of books to read. I had this insane fear that one day, no one would ever write another fantasy book ever again and I would be stuck reading the handful that I had over and over again until I died. Seriously, what was wrong with me? The idea is laughable now and I have the opposite fear - that I will never read all of the books I want to read before I die, even if I live to be 150. Put both of those fears together, and we have my need to own every book I come across that I find interesting. Assisting with collection development at my library is a very dangerous thing.

This publication is going to kill me.
I think I might rather starve than stop buying books. The bills and rent get paid, the cats get medicine and food. But do I really have to eat? Do I really need a haircut? How long can I drive around without an oil change? These are the questions that run around my brain every payday. I love used book stores and library book sales best, but I'll pay full price if I have to. I just want that book in my hot little hands. And books that get weeded from my library? Oh jeebus... it would be a shame if they didn't go to a good home...

I write this post shortly before I head off to ALA in Chicago, where I know I will get tons of free books and book related swag. I have a spreadsheet and galley guide ready, in addition to a suitcase with wheels. So, how about you? What are your book purchase and borrowing habits?

1 comment:

  1. I don't buy as many books as I use to. Now mainly Doctor Who stuff or just books by one of my favorite authors and that's for the most part Neil Gaiman, some graphic novels, and books written by friends. I get and read so much from the library. Mar has gotten me into the habit of, besides DW stuff, to only buy things I would pay the expense of going somewhere and getting signed.